This shorter walk takes us to one of the best viewpoints in the Keswick area, on top of Walla Crag, just to the south of the town. From here there are splendid views of Skiddaw, Blencathra, Derwent Water, the Newland fells and the high ground around the head of Borrowdale. There are also distant views of Scotland and if the weather is right of the Pennines.
Length: 3 miles
Map: Lakes North West
Last Walked: April 2012
We start from the National Trust car park at Great Wood.
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We start by heading south out of the car park along a well made path (at the opposite end of the car park to the vehicle entrance). Follow this path as it climbs up and across the slope.
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After a short distance a somewhat larger forest track cuts across our path. Turn left into this path and follow it as it heads north-east, climbing more steeply up the hill, with Walla Crag to the right. After a bit the track levels out, and passes through the woods, with great views towards Keswick to the left and the crag to the right.
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Eventually this track splits in two. The larger track turns towards the left and heads downhill, while a smaller but still very clear path continues on straight ahead. Take this right-hand path and follow it to the edge of the woods. The path then crosses an open field before reaching Brockle Beck, which at this point runs through a steep sided grassy ravine.
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Turn right onto the path that runs alongside the stream. Follow it upstream until we reach a footbridge that crosses the beck. Cross the bridge and follow path onto a minor road. Turn right onto this road and follow it towards a farm.
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Just before the farm the road curves to the right. Follow this curve, which soon brings us to the end of the road. Here another bridge takes us back across the beck. On the far side of the bridge there is a narrow finger of land between the beck and a stone wall that runs across the fields next to the stream. Turn left and follow the clear footpath that runs alongside this stone wall. After a short distance both the wall and the path turn towards the left and begin the short but steep climb towards the high ground above Walla Crag.
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Towards the top of this climb we reach an area where the wall has been replaced with a fence. Pass through a gate in this fence and follow a path that runs along the top of the crag, heading towards the highest point of the fell (In places this path does run very close to the crag, so in icy or wet weather it might be best to ignore this gate, follow a path that runs to the left of the wall, and visit the summit from the next gate).
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This path soon brings us to the highest point on the walk. The path then continues on to the south, dropping towards a gate in the wall.
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Pass through this gate and then turn right onto the path that heads down hill towards the valley of Cat Gill. Ignore any path that branches off to the left and keep on the path that runs down the gap between Cat Gill on the left and the stone wall on the right. Follow this very good path as it heads steeply down the valley (on steps at the steepest moments of the time).
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We follow this path as the valley drops down towards the lake, turning sharply right at about the half way mark. Eventually we reach a footbridge that crosses the beck. Ignore this bridge and turn right onto the footpath that heads off into Great Wood. This path soon brings us back to the junction we used at step two - continue on straight past it this time - and then back to the car park.